Public Policy Associates Inc., (PPA) would like to recognize affiliated consultant Willard K. Walker for his contributions to promoting diversity, equality, and social justice over many decades.
Mr. Walker has devoted much of his personal and professional life to creating opportunities for equality at the state, local, and national levels.
In Lansing, Mr. Walker was a founding member of the Greater Lansing Area Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission. He was honored with the commission’s first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Award in 2010.
Mr. Walker held influential positions in Lansing city government, including director of the Human Resources and Community Services Department, and Lansing police commissioner. He was also a leader in the Michigan Jobs Commission Office of Workforce Development.
As a PPA consultant, he has shared his expertise with many by providing diversity training to numerous clients. He worked with Lansing Board of Water and Light employees and executives to define diversity and explain its importance in maintaining and growing a business. Mr. Walker worked with the Lansing CEO Diversity Council to help leaders understand the importance of diversity as a business strategy and create more inclusive workplaces.
“We have institutional policies and programs in place to change how we think about race and culture, but programs don’t change people’s hearts and minds. We need to have tough conversations, and this needs to be brought to those that control institutions,” Mr. Walker said.
His work also extends to advancing opportunities for Lansing children of color. Mr. Walker has done work in the Greater Lansing Urban League, the Lansing School District Parent Support Network, and the Kappa Express football program.
Mr. Walker’s reach and impact can be seen in Alabama where he challenged segregation serving as the deputy director of the Birmingham Urban League. And in Illinois where he served as a math teacher in the Chicago Public Schools and fought to unite historically segregated schools.
“Willard has done incredible work to make Lansing a more equitable and welcoming place,” said Colleen Graber. “His work exceeds six decades and he continues to make a difference through various efforts in research, leadership, and mentorship.”